Hundreds of Icelanders gathered in front of Parliament yesterday to protest against the deportation of over a dozen people seeking international protection, including a family of five and a man who must use a wheelchair, all from Iraq.
As reported, all of these people have been deported to Greece, despite condemnations from the Icelandic Red Cross that deporting people to this country is inhumane, given the conditions that even those granted international protection are forced to endure. UNICEF has also condemned the deportations.
As such, such deportations arguably violate both Article 3 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as Article 42 of Iceland’s Law On Foreigners, which expressly states that “it is not permitted to send a foreigner or a stateless person to an area where he has reason to fear persecution … or due to circumstances similar to those in the refugee concept, are in imminent danger of dying or being subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment.”
Further exacerbating the situation is the fact that many of these people were still awaiting a final ruling in Icelandic court on their cases. Their being sent to Greece will make it all but impossible for them to advance their cases in the Icelandic justice system.
There has also been the treatment the police doled out. They reportedly took phones away from the deportees. When police were questioned on why they felt this was necessary, they said it was done for “safety reasons”, while admitting that phones in themselves are not dangerous. Their shutting off their body cams, and some as yet undetermined officers asking Isavia employees to shine floodlights at journalists to prevent them from filming the deportations have also been criticised–one of those critics being Minister of Social Affairs Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, who has called the police treatment of the disabled deportee “unacceptable”.
All of this, as well as the government’s repeated insistence that, despite the objections of human rights organisations, the deportations were completely legal, prompted yesterday’s protests, photos from which you can see below:
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